by Tim Lohman

Independent contractors fairing well despite GFC: report

Sep 01, 2009

Despite the severity of the current financial crisis, only one in four Australian contractors, have been required to take a pay cut to stay in employment, a new report has found.

The IPro Index 2009, a survey of 256 white-collar contract professionals conducted by Monash University and sponsored by Entity Solutions, also found that contractors increasingly needed to be flexible in their earnings expectations and careers.

Detailing the report’s findings, Dr Tui McKeown, deputy director of Social and Economic Interface Research Network at Monash University said the findings were surprisingly positive.

“We actually expect it to be a lot more, and to say they were losing contracts at the expense of permanent [staff],” she said. “But they are saying that they are holding on. They’re not expecting to get a pay rise this year but they’re not expecting to take a massive cut, and only a few overall are taking a cut.”

Matthew Franceschini, CEO at Entity Solutions, said the survey’s finding around the willingness for compromise on pay proved that independent contractors had the professional skills and ability to be responsive to the needs of their employers.

“It goes against the popular belief that IPros (Independent Professionals) are mercenaries,” he said. “They are proud and happy people and are inspired by their work, and have a very high level of commitment to the organisation they work for. Part of that is a commitment is to face reality if asked.”

The survey also found a high level of commitment between contractors and their employer, with one in two survey participants stating they would be very happy to spend the rest of their career working for their current client organisation.

Nearly three quarters of respondees stated that that their client organisation values their contributions and cares about their well-being.

“The reason we have a continuing, and increasing use of IPros in the market is because the productivity that comes out of them can be far greater than with a permanent employee,” Franceschini said. “[Management] may not want to dispose of the contractor when you know you get a high level of return of investment from that person.”